I am 35 year old female living with HIV.
I was first diagnosed July 2006 after contracting pneumonia PCP. Previous to this I had been in a long term relationship for 6 years with a partner who was promiscuous (unknown to me). Just before diagnosis I had lost my dad to cancer and split from the long term relationship I was in.
Not knowing my HIV status at this point I went on holiday with my mum for what we thought I needed was some rest! I met my now husband on this holiday and we kept in touch once we got home even though we both lived over 5 hours away from each other.
A few days after my return I collapsed and was taken to hospital. Initially the doctors thought I had a bad case of pneumonia and set about finding out for sure! Aaron had been calling my house and after a day rang my mum to see what was going on. She told him I was in hospital and he dropped everything for someone he'd known for less than a week and drove to hospital.
My doctor had asked my about my lifestyle etc. I thought this was a very strange question as I had never been promiscuous, used drugs or had unprotected sex with anyone other than my long term previous partner. They asked if they could do a routine HIV test as a matter of precaution, of course I laughed and said yeah why not I couldn't possibly have that!
Aaron arrived to my surprise at my bedside around 10 minutes before my doctor came looking actually very upset and asked if I would like Aaron to leave, I said no it was fine and was very confused... Then the words "your test results came back and it appears initial results would indicate you are positive for HIV". The bottom fell out of my world, all the plans I had for a new start with this wonderful new man by my side shattered, my future now in my mind a gaping hole of slow death, lesions and illness!
After a few minutes I turned to Aaron and said that he should go home and not think of me again, I wouldn't hold it against him and would understand and respect his choice. He was gobsmacked! He didn't leave and he said he never would, it seems not everyone had an 80's mindset about this as I did - I was quite ashamed of myself. I told my mum, my family, and close friends. They are still in my life and very supportive - in fact they mostly don't think of it at all.
Since my diagnosis I have received successful treatment and have an undetectable viral load and a very good CD4 count. My doctors and councellors were all very good and reassured me at every stage. In the years that have followed I have started a successful business, gotten married and in 2010 gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy who is now 18 months old - something so precious I had ruled out as something I'd never be able to safely do.
My pregnancy wasn't a worry-free time but my antenatal team were well up to date on the information. I did sometimes feel a little judged but only by a few, and I put that down to lack of awareness which I myself had been guilty of.
I'm looking forward to a happy and healthy future and I cherish every second with my little boy and my loved ones. I sometimes wonder if I would have been so thankful for the little things I enjoy had this not have happened to me. I'm not glad for it and I didn't ask for it but it's part of me now, I accept that and live every day not like a victim but like a survivor because that's what I am!
Thank you for reading my story, I've never told it to strangers before but I hope it can give someone some reassurance and hope.
Read another story: Mamacita's story ››
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Thank you, this is a story of hope, faith and love. You are a survivor and not a victim and I am confident that your story will inspire others to remain positive and live life to the full.
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
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HIV Drug Interactions
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